Florence Li Tim Oi

Florence Li Tim Oi is remembered mostly in the Anglican church of Canada, but since Canada is part of the Anglican Communion, I thought I would mention her in this list as well. In 2003, the Episcopal Church fixed 24 January as her feast day in Lesser Feasts and Fasts, based on the eve of the anniversary of her ordination. In 2007, the Anglican Communion celebrated the centennial of her birth. In 2018, she was made a permanent part of the Episcopal Church’s calendar of saints. (source: wikipedia)

Her story is remarkable. 
She was born in in Hong Kong on 5 May 1907; her Chinese father, turned Christian, called her Tim Oi, “Much beloved” as daughter.
Her father was a teacher and did not earn enough money to sent her to school, so she could conclude her secondary schooling only when she was 27.
At her baptism she took the Christian name Florence, in admiration indeed of Florence Nightingale. In 1934 she started a four-year course at Union Theological College in Canton.
She led a team of students rescuing the casualties of Japanese carpet bombing, and narrowly escaped being a casualty herself. In 1941 she was ordained a deaconess by the Bishop of Hong Kong. (The Chinese Church had no separate deaconess order.)
After a brief curacy in Kowloon she was appointed to the Portuguese colony of Macau, neutral territory and therefor very much crowded with war refugees from mainland China that was at war with the Japanese.
Macao was as far from Japanese-occupied Hong Kong as the Channel Islands are from England. No priests could make the journey, so for two years Tim-Oi was licensed by her assistant bishop to preside at Holy Communion even though a deacon. Her diocesan Bishop was brought up in a Tractarian vicarage Tractarian: The movement, whose members argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy and theology. See also Pusey; he was not happy with what was almost lay celebration. In 1941, seven months after he had ordained Tim-Oi a deacon, he was in the United States. There he discussed the issue of the ordination of women with Ursula and Reinhold Niebuhr.

They agreed that someone needed to have the opportunity to go ahead and do it. At the end of 1943 Bishop Hall was back in the part of his diocese which was in Free China. He sent a message to Tim-Oi to ask her to meet him. She accepted and endured a prolonged hazardous journey through Japanese lines. After much prayer and discussion, on 25 January 1944, he ordained her a Priest of God, because God had clearly shown that He had already given her the gift of priesthood.

In this the bishop followed the example of Peter when he baptised Cornelius. (Acts 10. 1 – 44).
After liberation from the Japanese, Li Tim Oi returned her priest’s licence but retained her Holy Orders. She survived the persecutions of the time of Mau Tze Dung. Then she emigrated to Canada, Toronto where she died on 26 February 1991. On the golden jubilee of the year that Li Tim Oi was ordained as priest, Archbishop Donald Coggan started the “It takes one woman” foundation, so that other Christian women in the 'Two-Thirds World' could, like her, be trained to fulfil their vocations.

Below an interesting sermon on Li Tim Oi

Link of further interest

The Priest Florence Li Tim-Oi and the Ungenerous Communion

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